Papua New Guinea, one of the most egzotic places on earth
Lovely travelers around the globe,
Today we are hosting an amazing soul that will share her experiences in one of the amazing places but less traveled destinations in the world. Any guesses? Hahaha seriesly, it is an egzotic place where at some point you need to get yourself there. It is Papua New Guinea!
Meet Sunny, a Dutch girl who I met in Shanghai in a restraurant. Later on she moved to Hangzhou with her husband Manu and found her company, Sunny Cupcakes. Now she is travelling to Papua New Guinea to explore the culture of where his husband grew up!
These couple of weeks she will be our host in this fascinating country to show us how Papua New Guinea is from her point of view.
Papua New Guinea, ‘Expect the Unexpected’. One of the slogans for this beautiful country, where I will be travelling the coming weeks and also the country I now call my second home. How does a 26 year old Dutchie, residing in Hangzhou, China, end up on that island right above Australia? Love, of course love! My amazing husband Manu, whom I met in China, is Papua New Guinean. His father is from the coast and mother from the highlands and they all live in Port Moresby, the capital, where we try to visit every summer.
Port Moresby (or POM for short), next to being the capital, is also the biggest city in the country with 600.000 people living here and a true melting pot of cultures from all over the country. Papua New Guinea (PNG) is one of the most diverse countries in the world. You will find 22 provinces here, 1 common language (Tok Pisin, a sort of English) and in total over 800 different sub-cultures, all with their own traditions, clothing, dishes and even languages! They all come together in POM, where the question ‘where are you from?’ is one of the first to be asked among Papua New Guineans who first meet.
There are about 10 traffic lights in the whole country.
PNG can surely be seen as a developing country. There are about 10 traffic lights in the whole country, only a handful of highways, a lot of areas that are not reachable by car and you can forget about a stop at H&M, Starbucks or McDonald’s, since there are none of these brand names here! What they do have: Unbelievable nature; mountains that surround the city that is built on hills, the sea is never more than 30 minutes away while in POM and as soon as you leave the city, you find untouched nature, jungle and palm tree forests. People are more relaxed here. Life isn’t as hectic as in many western countries. People are happier with having less. There is no need to make an insane amount of money, since the money you make is meant to take care of your family (and that includes cousins, far uncles, distant family and people you’ve never met!). There is no need to always be fashionable, since there are hardly any shops to get the newest trends. There is no need to put your make up on every morning, because in a country where it is between 22 and 28 degrees the whole year thru, you will sweat it off in no time. Developing country? Third world country some might say? I think the PNGers are doing things a lot better than we do back home!
I think the PNGers are doing things a lot better than we do back home!
SAFETY IN PORT MORESBY(POM)
Online you will read a lot of scary stories about Port Moresby, especially scaring you off about safety concerns. And it is true, POM is one of the most dangerous cities in the world. Wherever there is poverty, criminality is an almost logic result in 2016. For me personally: I can not leave the house by myself. So I always have to ask someone to come with me to do something.
For you as a possible tourist:
1. Never ever take a taxi or public bus, you will not have fun. Get yourself a driver, which are very common in POM, so easy to find.
2. When walking, walk together. Even with other foreigners is ok, together you are automatically stronger.
3. Use your common sense. Yes, it is not a place where you can go into a supermarket in your bikini, yet really, if you use your common sense, not going into the shanty areas of the city, you will be more than fine and have a great time in Papua New Guinea!
WHAT TO DO FOR 5 WEEKS IN PORT MORESBY(POM), PAPUA NEW GUINEA?
I’ll be staying in POM the coming 5 weeks. Outside of POM there are many, many places to visit the beautiful mountains and post-card white beaches with world’s most amazing diving spots, but without a big bag of money, you will have to do with POM ;-). There’s quite a few well known hotels in POM. Holiday Inn, Crown Plaza, Ela Beach hotel and the brand new Stanley hotel make you feel like you are back in the western world with WIFI (that’s rare in Papua New Guinea), room service, swimming pools and hot water showers. There are also more laid back hotels which give you the same, for a lower price. Don’t forget though, that bag of money will come in handy again. To my personal surprise, there are a lot of shopping malls here and up-to-western-standards supermarkets! Yes, the malls are not as big as you might find them at home, but they house the basics. The supermarkets over here are a true blessing after 4 years living in China! A lot of imported products from Australia, so you can really find everything you need from fresh fruit to meats to dairy to bakery items.
We have been here for nearly a week now, flying in from Hangzhou to Xiamen onto Manila then to POM. There are now direct flights to POM from Tokyo, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Bali and more. Check the locations on www.airniugini.com for more info etc.
This week we are mostly spending time with family and friends. Also, my mother in law Janet Sape asked me to be Mistress of Ceremony for a graduation for 1.000 women here, who received their Financial Certificate that day.Mom is one of those super women who walk around the planet, fighting for women rights. She started the Women In Business Organization, where they help women from all over PNG to learn the basics of finances, math, Business Skills and more. She also opened the first ever 2 MICRO Banks of the Pacific, where women are able to get a small loan, in order to open a business. Pretty awesome right?! So when she asked me to be Mistress of Ceremony, I didn’t have to think twice! This week we have been busy planning, organizing and preparing that event which had about 1.500 people attending from all over POM. Next to that, driving around town, which is always fun, drinks with friends (I’ll write about some of the best places to grab a beer next week), and having BBQs with the family.
From Papua New Guinea with love,
Stay tuned for Sunny’s next article, right here, next week, to keep track of here adventures in Papua New Guinea!